It is known to all that the beautiful country of Qatar provides us with some stunning views and sceneries to photograph. One such photographer who has won several acclaims and accolades for taking some amazing shots of the landscape, animals, birds and even the people of Qatar is Ray Toh.
ILQ got in touch with this seasoned photographer to get to know a little bit about him, his work and what inspires him to pick up the lens. Let's find out!
Ray: I am a self-taught photographer from Singapore. I fell in love with photography when I got hold of my first DSLR. I picked up lots of photography skills from online tutorials and books. Like many, I also attend workshops to learn new skills and meet up with fellow photographers to exchange ideas.
The objective of all my work is to deliver to the client images that they have never seen or expected to see; capturing them from a totally different perspective and see the “WOW” effect from them when I deliver the photos.
Ray: I have been in this field for more than 15 years and in Qatar for about 8.5 years. Since my arrival to the country, I have been supporting many local businesses from schools, universities, embassies, airlines, construction, oil & gas companies, local media agencies, hotels, malls, spas etc here for their marketing work and events.
Ray: To deliver the unseen product to the audiences. I usually work on the ideas first before I decide to go out for a shoot; lots of preparation is needed like surveying the location, time of the day to shoot and the equipment I need to get the right shot. Nevertheless, I occasionally do pick up my camera and go for a walk without any plan.
Ray: A big part of my work is linked to commercial architectural work and events where I serve my clients with images for their marketing work. I also support them to document major and memorable events or VIPs visits in Qatar. I do a lot of wildlife photography as a hobby, I enjoy going out with local environmental groups like QNGH, etc to explore Qatar.
Ray: Qatar is home to many impressive architectures, a few that I love to shoot is Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar National Museum, West Bay skyscrapers and Katara. With the recent preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2022, there are also a handful of new stadiums that I love to capture. I love to travel to places like Inland Sea and Zekreet as well to capture the beauty of nature and the landscape.
Ray: I love to capture wildlife in their natural habitat. Qatar is home to many desert wildlife like the Arabian oryx, Cape Hares, Desert Hedgehogs, Red Foxes, Arabian Sand Gazelles, Gerbils, Spiny-tailed Agama, Geckos, Sea Turtles and many seasonal birds like Flamingo etc.
Ray: Qatar has helped me a lot in my journey in photography by providing me with lots of opportunities to shoot its rich cultural history, architectures and incredible desert landscape. Coming from a modern city with a tropical climate, I have never been exposed to deep cultural events and wild nature from the extreme heat in summer and the cold during winters. Here I learnt how to monitor the climate during the season and plan my work accordingly throughout the year.
Ray: Yes, there was a plan to roll out some workshops to share with others who are keen in photography and to present my typical workflow right from pre-assignment meetings to the final delivery. I also planned to touch on some simple post-processing techniques I use on my images prior to delivery. Unfortunately, this pandemic has delayed the plan. Stay tuned and I am sure we will get back on our foot again to kick start this project. Do follow my FB page/ IG to get updates.
Ray: I will recommend the below top 3 locations for you to start with:
Ray: If you are into photography, do go out and practice all the techniques you learnt from your peers, online videos, trainers and master it. For starts, you should pick 1 technique to master per shooting trip and in no time you will master a whole bag of techniques you would need to handle most scenarios.
Try to minimize your time in front of your computer trying to manipulate your images with software unless your goal is to be a graphic designer and not a photographer. I always believe an image is created at the moment the shutter is closed.
Ray: Always treat the environment well and don’t abuse her, she will pay you back with beautiful and enjoyable surroundings.
Ray: Life is short, shoot hard!
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